sport

Ground key for Lavelle ace

Off The Ground is likely to run at Cheltenham on January 25 as long as the ground is suitable.

Emma Lavelle's improving chaser has won his last two starts at Doncaster in the manner of a horse going places but he must have good ground to be seen at his best.

His rating has gone from 118 to 147 in two runs so he will need to carry on progressing.

The recent rain has prevented him from running anywhere over the Christmas period and his options at Prestbury Park at the end of the month include a novice handicap chase or a Grade Three handicap, the freebets.com Trophy, in open company.

"The rain has been a real pain, he was in such good form but we've had to bide our time," said Dan Downie, spokesman for the Axom syndicate which owns Off The Ground.

"There are a couple of races at Cheltenham for him. Hopefully, if the ground permits, he'll run in one of them. The idea is to see how he takes to Cheltenham with the Festival in mind.

"I can't see a reason why he wouldn't take to it, although it is quite different to Doncaster."